Nairobi — Elephant poaching in the country has reduced by 50 per cent, Kenya Wildlife Service said.
KWS Director General Charles Musyoki said there were 40 cases of poaching in 2018 compared to 80 in 2017, even as elephant mortality dropped by 30 percent.
He said nationally, the country has lost 396 elephants this year due to diverse causes, including natural causes (disease, drought, drowning, territorial fights & old age); human-wildlife conflicts, accidents and poaching compared to 727 that died during 2017.
"Our national elephant population has remained healthy with a current estimate of 35,000 elephants having increased by 119 percent over a period of 29 years from 16,000 elephants in 1989. The Mara ecosystem elephants have increased from 1,000 in 1983 to the present 2,493 translating to an increase of 149 percent in 35 years," said Musyoki.
In the Maasai Mara ecosystem a total of 61 elephants died this year, 23 of mortalities being as a result of natural causes, 10 were due to human-elephant conflict, 4 were poached while 24 died from, "causes that were not immediately established since the carcasses were detected when they were petrified and extensively scavenged."
Musyoki further stated that all ivory except for the elephants that were poached were recovered and are in safe custody.
He called on the public to always seek accurate population information including data on mortalities from Kenya Wildlife Service, refuting a media report that quoted the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) which claimed that 26 elephants had died from poisoning.